Recently I caught a paper which had plagiarized my paper. Several sentences had been copied from my article without citing my article. Some of the copied sentences had been shuffled, so the words were the same but the order of the words had been changed. Some other sentences were exactly copied from my article. Besides, all the copied sentences in the new article appeared in approximately same places to the original sentences used by me in my article. I am not inexperienced in academia and without any severe bias, it was quite obvious that they have picked my sentences. Even the citations at the end of my sentences had been used in the same order in the new article... Moreover, the style of my sentences were unique to my article and not inspired from another article. So it was not possible that those authors were copying from another source other than my paper.

I said all the above points to the editor of the journal. I also highlighted all the copied sentences and put very detailed comments beside each highlighted sentence in the new article and attached the new article and my article to the journal editor so he could see for himself. He didn't respond. So I searched for and found the email addresses of all the editorial members of the journal and emailed them the same letter, frequently. All the emails were correct and running. Only one of the addresses bounced my letter. So I am pretty sure they have received my emails.

However they again didn't do anything about it, nor they did respond to me... So I wonder what else can I do?

I intend to report them to as many authorities as possible. I know a couple of them, but don't think they will do much about it. I need to know what can I do about it? What those authorities are legally able to do? And that should I sue them in court or not? The plagiarizing journal is in Turkey (not my country) and I don't know can I sue them in a court of my country? Are there other routes for filing copyright theft complaints?

Any suggestion is appreciated for when the journal tries to hide the plagiarism or doesn't care about it.


2 Answers 2

  • Document everything.
  • If you can't get a reply from the editors of the journal, write to the publisher. Or if it's the journal of a learned society, contact them.
  • You probably can't act alone, but you may get more powerful allies (deeper pockets) on your side. There are others around you who have a vested interest in your work.

    In particular, the journal where you published your work… given that you transferred them the copyright, I suppose they might act in their own name against the plagiarist. Even if it does not escalate all the way to a legal action, the publisher of the plagiarized work might respond (or respond faster) to a well-known publisher.

    Your employer may also have an interest in helping you enforcing your copyright. They may also have a legal department who can advise you on this matter.

  • 2
    Thanks a lot for the prompt response. To answer you, 1. Everything is documented. 2. The publisher is already in the list of the authorities to reach in the next step, thanks a lot. 3. I would contact my university authorities and co-authors to get allies. 4. I will contact that journal too, however, the copyright is mine under Creative Common License Agreement. So legally it is my copyright theft. 5. My employer knows really nothing about these things (very unfortunately). Thanks again :)
    – Vic
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 21:01
  • 5
    I would expect journals/publishers to be interested in helping you even if you didn't transfer the copyright.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 21:36
  • Thanks. Let's see what happens. I will contact them and say to them that their article is plagiarized. Let's see what happens.
    – Vic
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 8:09

If the journal editor(s) did not act (a question is of course how much time they should have before "doing" something), it should be possible to contact the publisher. If the editor(s) are not interested in digging into a problem, a serious publisher will probably think differently. So, the step beyond editors will be the publisher.

You should also look at the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). COPE has a library of cases where assorted possibly unethical behaviours have been assessed. COPE is not intended for individuals but for editors to handle poor behaviour. But, by looking at their case studies you may find additional support for your case to influence both editors and publishers.

I cannot answer the questions on legal actions but considering theft of, for example, copyrighted music, fashion and technology around the world, plagiarism will be low on the scale.

  • I wrote to them about two weeks and then 10 days ago abd then a week ago etc. They are about a dozen of people. So it is interesting that no replies after several emails to all of them is written. Once I e-mailed one of them (a couple of years ago) asking for some question. He responded me immediately from his iPhone. So they have a proper response time (at least they used to have so). I would contact the publisher, thanks. Moreover, I was looking for such Plagiarism Watch Dogs. This COPE thing might help. I will also will expose my evidences in my blog. Thanks a lot. :)
    – Vic
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 21:05

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